Something Evil

I would love to share with you some of the shots from a photoshoot I did with the lovely @erzabethbathory a week back.

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The Good From 2016

2016 was a turbulent year to say the least, but a lot of beautiful, good things came from it and today I want to share some of my creative highlights.

Launching My Blog The Girl With Cold Hands

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Having New Logos Created By Níðhöggr Studio

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Collaborating With Photographer Daria Endresen

Collaborating With Rimfrost & Their Documentary : Beyond A Frozen World Unknown

Publishing My 6th Poetry Collection ‘In The Hours Of Darkness’

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Having My Poetry Collection ‘Dying Is Forbidden In Longyearbyen’ Make It Into The Norwegian National Library

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Photographing Rimfrost Several Times, Including Their Gig In Trollhättan

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Being interviewed By One Of My Favourite Blogs – These Unquiet Things

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Being Interviewed By Vargamor A Blog I Co-Founded In 2015

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Photographing Swedish Black Metal Band Trident

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Getting Back Into Reviewing After A Long Break

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Improving My Photography  & Establishing A Photography Website

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Co-Establishing The Divine Weirdos – An Art Collective Based In Sweden

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Establishing A New Writing Website 

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Writing For CVLT Nation, Dirge Magazine and  Routes North Among Others…

Considering that my health fucked up a considerable amount of months I’m content with what I achieved. (Maybe if I say it enough times, I’ll really believe it…)

I’ve already grabbed these first few days of 2017 and have given them everything I’ve got. I feel alive and re-born creatively.

There were moments in 2016 when I thought I’d lost myself forever. I thought the words would never come back, I thought I would never again feel joy doing the things I love most.

But I retaliated against my mental health and  made a promise to myself that I will continue, always, to give everything I have to my days. I hope your 2017 is everything you hope for…and then some.

 

 

 

 

Stitching In The Dark : The Beginning

Some of my earliest memories are of sitting in my Nanna’s living room during dark winter nights. It was always warm, with thick curtains keeping the cold at bay, and a gas fire quietly breathing out hot air. I don’t remember it ever being cold during winter.

I can remember  watching National Geographic documentaries about wolves in Yellowstone Park, and my Nanna sitting in a big armchair with one of those lighted magnifying glasses, and a cross stitch resting on a special embroidery table. I always found the light radiating from the magnifying glass oddly comforting, and admired my Nanna’s tidy working method and her obsession with organizing her materials.

My Nanna would work away at these colossal pieces, and they would always came out as visions of perfection. When one was completed, she’d immediately start another. Once a month my Nanna would have ‘her ladies’ come round, and this cross stitch coven would show off the work they’d been doing and exchange ideas over tea and biscuits.

I enjoyed watching my Nanna cross stitch, but it wasn’t something that I thought I should take up. My head was always too busy being stuck in the pages of a book. One of the last things I remember my Nanna making was an embroidery of two grey wolves. I had it with me when I was in hospital suffering with anorexia nervosa.

I cross stitched a little when I was 15. I was on bedrest in hospital and made book marks with GOTH written in tiny black stitches on blood red backgrounds. When I left hospital, and abandoned cross stitch and for years I didn’t touch a need and thread, apart from when it came to sewing black metal patches onto my battle jacket.

But something stirred in me during the months of 2016. I found myself encountering one dark embroidery after another, and I quickly became besotted with the idea of creating pieces myself. Memorial Stitches and Fever Nest have provided much of the inspiration I’ve needed to be able to move forward and pick up a needle and thread again.

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I’m not very good at doing stuff ‘just for me.’ I’ve had great trouble with relaxing during the past twenty odd years of my life, and I finally came to the point where I thought to myself, ‘Katie, you’re going to have to give yourself some time every day just for you, just to do something you really, really want to do.’ After months of agonizing mental hardship, I decided to listen to myself. I decided to go to the thrift store and stock up on materials and I can tell you now, I smiled all the way there imagining what treasures I’d uncover.

It was at Erikshjälpen in Borås where I found the things I needed. I spent a happy hour going through all their thread and odds and ends of fabrics. As a long-term thrifter, I was overcome. It was an entirely new adventure in a store that I’d been in dozens of times before. I didn’t limit myself to just black thread though. At 10 krona  a spool, I picked up silvers and pale blues too. I felt re-born creatively.

I knew what I wanted to do for my first piece of embroidery…a goat’s head. After browsing Google Images for a few moments, an ideal pattern appeared. A thrill ran up my spine. I felt prepared and capable and not afraid. A few moments later, I was ready to stitch.

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A beautiful feeling of calm washed over me as I stitched. My thoughts, which are usually so hard to tame, became quiet. The more I stitched, the better I felt. When I Skyped with my parents, I was still going.

I finished my first little piece on the first night that I’d started it, and the feeling was one of enormous satisfaction. Despite the fact my two goat heads look very much like a uterus, I’m proud of my work. I’m proud that I took the step to take my creativity in another direction and I’m proud that I was itching to do another as soon as I’d crossed the last stitch.

Many of the embroideries that have inspired me have been influenced by witchcraft and its association with Lucifer, so I took to Pinterest to find my next prompt. I found a pattern with as perfect a text as I could hope to find – an adaptation of a Black Sabbath lyric which read…’Oh Lucifer, Please Take My Hand.

I’m stitching smaller for this piece, and it’s taking longer than I envisaged, but I’m savouring every single moment. I’ve noticed that even when I get a stitch wrong and need to do it again, my mood remains tranquil.

My Nanna and I have been estranged for a few years now, for reasons which aren’t entirely clear to me and the rest of my family, but I still think of her cross stitching all those years ago, and I hope that she would be happy if she knew I was stitching again.

My Heart Has Joined The Thousand

Today I learned about the passing of Richard Adams, the author of the novel Watership Down, a book which I owe so much too.

We had the cartoon adaptation from 1978 on VHS and I watched it repeatedly throughout my childhood, at least a few times a week for several years and then a couple of times a year through my teen years and into adulthood. Nothing else has ever been able to move me in the ways that this story has, and I don’t think anything ever will.

I was reading Adam’s  obituary on the BBC website and discovered that, interestingly, one of his earliest memories was of a local man pushing a handcart full of dead rabbits down the street.

All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.

Rest well good sir, tonight I will light a candle in your honour.

 

 

 

When Your Boyfriend Gets It Right

I am all about winter. I am all about north. I am all about obscurity.

So, when I unwrapped the Jul gift from my boyfriend, I thought to myself, ‘he gets me.’

The Moomins played a pivotal role in my growing up, and helped in forming what has become an unbreakable bond with the Nordic lands.

The scene on the mug – which I’m using right now for my tea – is from Tove Jansson’s story Moominland Midwinter where Moomin wakes up early from his hibernation and goes outside to find that someone has taken away the sun, and the world as he knew it is no longer there…

Get your own Special Edition Moomin Winter mug by Arabia.

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What I’m Currently Reading : The Arctic An Anthology edited by Elizabeth Kolbert.

What I’m Currently Listening To : 40 Watt Sun’s new album Wider Than The Sky.

 

 

Winter Has Always Been My Season

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Winter has always been my season. It’s when I feel most myself. I am at my most creative during these dark months. The darkness has forever been more of a friend than a foe. I thrive in the dark, and also find comfort in its unfathomable depths.

Today I spent my first winter solstice in Sweden and celebrated by surrounding myself with words and art and music.

Despite the troubles of the past few months, when one agonizing day blurred into another, when I tried to sleep away the depression and anxiety, I’m relieved that I’m no longer always a prisoner to my mind. I’m having more days that are hazy with joy. Where I make things I’m proud of, and people reach out to me, and let me know they’re there for me and always will be.

I’ve made the decision that this will be a winter of true renewal. I envisage myself growing stronger with the cold.

Warmth and love to you this winter solstice.


What I’m currently reading : Mind Power by James Borg.

What I’m currently listening to : Mass Darkness from Ishan’s latest album Arktis.